Half Past 11:00

HALF PAST 11:00 sleeps in my bed and refuses to be

roused. I tuck the sheets tight before I leave for work,

but Half Past 11:00 musses them up. Slumped at my

desk, I can't stop thinking about Half Past 11:00, who

sinks into the mattress and burrows a hollow shaped

like a crescent moon, which has not slept there for


HALF PAST 11:00 clings to the seawall inside me,

a barnacle on my uterus, only observable when the

surgeon inserts a tube above the navel. Blue masks

lean close. Shadows flit across my ocean floor and,

beyond cliffs and canyons, a muffled snore. Take it

out! I cry. The surgeon's pincers can't grab hold—

HALF PAST 11:00 slumbers in the rear of the

freezer, wrapped in plastic and clinging to a gray side

of beef, not forgotten but preserved, and why? I've

moved to a new house, a new job, a new lover. Still,

there's Half Past 11:00, a drowsy glacier in a swirl of

arctic steam, crystalizing and thawing in the light

from the door I left open.

8:00 P.M. raps at my door and claims to be Half Past

11:00. I want to believe this, so I arrange daylilies in

a vase on the credenza. My sister follows me through

the house, sweeping up the rust. She knows that 8:00

is an imposter, but what's the harm? The resemblance,

she says, is uncanny.

The daylilies are replicas, and the credenza, too.

Everything in our house, down to the frame that

once held Half Past Yesterday, imitates something

that 8:00 P.M. spirited away. My sister offers to call

the police, but what good would that do? We are

replicas, too.

February 15, 2023

Jackie Craven

Jackie Craven has recent poems in AGNI, The Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, Ploughshares, and River Styx. She's the author of Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2018), and two chapbooks, Our Lives Became Unmanageable (Omnidawn, 2016), winner of the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Award, and Cyborg Sister from Headmistress Press. After earning a Doctor of Arts in Writing from the University at Albany, NY, she worked for many years as a journalist covering architecture, visual art, and travel. Visit her website at JackieCraven.com.

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